It has been two years since we wrote the first draft of a standard for calculating the carbon footprint of print media. Quite amazingly the standard is in its final phase, prior to publication. It has passed its latest ballot with flying colours and will then be= nipped and tucked by the ISO bods in Geneva prior to being sent out for its final two month vote.
Sustainability starts at home but it is surprising how many companies don’t have a company sustainability policy. A sustainability policy is a bit like a mission statement in that it provides a commitment to an ideal or at least to a goal. Like a mission statement though a sustainability policy needs to be flexible enough to give the company wriggle room as the business changes and hopefully grows on the basis of its commitment.
For many consumers battling with economic hardship, the environment has fallen down their list of priorities. But businesses seem not to be losing faith in such numbers. Those printing companies who are managing to keep their heads above water, have got the message the reducing environmental impact is also about reducing costs and improving efficiencies.
After many years of prognostication the European Union has published its specification for an Ecolabel for products and services, excluding food and pharmaceuticals. This is a voluntary label designed to promote improved environmental performance. The idea is that consumers will choose products and services whose environmental impact on a life cycle basis is reduced.
The graphic arts industry often gets slammed for the waste and excess emissions it generates. Yet the printing industry is already implementing the Seven Cardinal Innovations as outlined by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research. This organisation is heavy on research and academics, but has a proactive engagement with industry and governments.